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Monday, October 07, 2013

How we're using the AKC GoodDog Helpline to help Gracie with focus! #AKCDogLovers

If you know Gracie, like we know Gracie...you'll know that she has a problem with focus, or should I say unfocusing!

Whenever something catches her attention (SQUIRREL!), she really gets into it , and Mum has a lot of trouble getting her attention, and snapping her out of her obsession.

We've worked with a lot of trainers on this issue because of her running off during agility runs over the years. And some of the tips have worked really well. But Mum still wants to work on this issue with new ideas, mainly because that super focused attention could someday put Gracie in danger with us living around bears, mountain lions and snakes.

So we called the AKC GoodDog! HelplineSM the other day and talked with one of their trainers. Mum was really excited to try some new techniques with Gracie and had a lot of fun talking about dog training and Gracie with the AKC trainer representative. They had a lot in common, which we both really like...you know positive training, clicker training and games for training dog behaviors....our kind of stuff!

Mum got some tips. So here's what she and Gracie have been working on:

Tip #1 - Working with Gracie on a long line in the yard with her recalls to help her remember how important they are and adding a variety of rewards, like toys, kisses, quick massages (Gracie's favorite things), in addition to super yummy treats to create variety. They started this over the past day or so, but we know it's going to take time to get to the near 100% sure recall that Mum needs. It's a super fun game that Gracie and Mum get to play without me every day, and I know, even though I get jealous, that it's super important.

Tip #2 - Another tip that they discussed since Gracie has a pretty good leave it, is to use that leave it for lots of different situations, so that when a dangerous one may come along it's a 'trick' Mum can turn to. So instead of just working on 'leave its' in place, they have started working on leave its while walking on leash and around the yard; and throwing things as well as coming up on things (like squirrel toys, treat bags, and other super high value to Gracie kind of stuff). Then treating when Gracie comes back to Mum. Mum and the trainer thought that this tip would be great in a snake encounter situation, whereas the recall work will help in a potential bolt situation.

So they are continuing to playing these fun games, and Mum says that she's already seeing some improvement after just a couple of days. The trick is to have it work really well all the time, so that when we need it it's a sure thing! Mum and Gracie will need to work on this nearly every day for a long time to come, but since it's a game, it's fun, right!?!

"I am blogging on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network and the AKC. I received compensation for my time from the AKC for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine."

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